Jo Swinson challenges Easter packaging offenders

Jo Swinson with Nestle Easter egg

Easter eggs are some of the worst excess packaging offenders

Jo Swinson has reported producers of two Easter eggs to Trading Standards officers for breaching packaging regulations.

The Easter eggs, made by Lindt and Nestle, came out worst in a survey of Easter egg packaging carried out by the East Dunbartonshire MP.

Jo said:

“These Easter eggs epitomise why consumers are so frustrated with over-packaged goods, especially at Easter. The eggs take up just 9% of the volume of the packaging, and the Nestle egg has actually increased the amount of packaging used compared to a survey I carried out last year.

“There are clear legal requirements placed on packaging, and these eggs certainly go beyond what is necessary to protect the product. You just have to look at the bewildering array of Easter eggs on offer to see that producers are locked into a packaging ‘arms race’, competing for space on the supermarket shelf with bigger and more attention-grabbing products.”

“The Government must take the initiative and force supermarkets and producers to stop this wasteful, unnecessary use of resources.”

Jo Swinson has produced a report measuring over-packaging on Easter eggs. The report compares packaging on ten eggs this year with a similar study carried out in 2007.

The key findings of the report are:

• Over-packaging is rife among Easter egg producers. In the worst cases, Easter eggs by Lindt and Nestle took up just 9% of the volume of their packages. Astonishingly, Nestle’s Easter egg actually showed an increase in packaging.

• There has been little action to reduce packaging levels. The major manufacturers’ standard packaging showed no significant reduction since 2007.

• Some signs of progress were observed: Cadbury’s has launched a new eco-egg product that uses minimal packaging, while Sainsbury’s and M&S both use packaging that is more efficient than their competitors’.

Jo will meet with DEFRA Minister Joan Ruddock on 24th April to call for greater efforts to cut excess packaging.

The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 govern acceptable packaging criteria. The regulations state:

Packaging shall be so manufactured that the packaging volume and weight be limited to the minimum adequate amount to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer.

Since these regulations were originally introduced in 1998, there have been just 4 successful prosecutions by Trading Standards officers.

 Download the report here


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